Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Vanity vs. Gray

It was a wintery day in 1989 and I was teasing my four inch bangs into a perfectly coiffed swoop.  I was having a hard time getting the height I needed since my hand kept getting stuck on the hair spray plastered brush.  

I pulled, I sprayed, I teased, I sprayed some more.

It was then that I noticed out of the corner of my eye, in a gunkless corner of my hair spray ladened bathroom mirror A GRAY HAIR.   

After marching around the house badgering every member in my family about whether they thought it was a blond hair or a gray hair,  I decided to heck with it and just pulled it out by the root.

I know. I know.  You're not supposed to do that.  But, hey, I was 16 at the time and not exactly in the know on these type of old lady ailments. 

While I had hoped that the single gray hair was just a freak anomaly, it wasn't long before dozens of gray hairs popped up all over and I realized that I had most decidedly inherited the Hepworth Early Graying Gene (H.E.G.G.). 

Now most women with the H.E.G.G. would just start dyeing their hair, right?  Yep, but I'm not most women.   

My parents were good, kind people who taught me well.  We learned the gospel together, we talked politics together, and they instilled in us a strong work ethic.  But they also taught me that dyeing your hair is 1) vain, 2) expensive, and 3) pointless.

Being the obedient, people pleasing (and somewhat cheapskate) daughter that I am,  my hair stayed au naturel for many years because of these teachings. 

Finally three years ago, in a fit of rebellion after my kids started to even mention how gray my hair was getting, I vainly went to a hairdresser, spent a fortune, and did something completely pointless....I smothered all my grays with warm shade of medium brown. 

And loved it.

People started commenting how much younger I looked.  I loved looking in the mirror and seeing my thick dark hair once again and it made me feel more confident. 

Three years and gallons of hair dye later (mostly self-applied), I have to say I'm getting kind of used to this whole vanity thing. 

PS#1-- Love you mom and dad! 

PS#2--I'm just curious, do any of you have gray hairs too?  I feel like I'm definitely on the young end of spectrum for as much gray as I have.  Do you keep them covered (or will you when the time comes)? 



Denise said...

I have just reached this dilemma. Well...actually I have been here for quite some time...but when I got a hair cut last week, the hair dresser asked me if I had ever considered coloring my hair. oy.

I used to think that I would never color my hair, but now that i'm here...bring it on.

K said...

I also inherited the H.E.G.G., but don't dye my hair near as much as I should. I'm also a cheapskate, which is one of many things that prevents me from going to the salon as much as I need to to hide the grey. So, do you ever dye your own hair? I've thought about giving that method a try.

Lisa @ Pulsipher Page said...

Yep. I'm a gray hiding in my blonde highlights kinda girl.

alexandra said...

We have a S.E.G.G. (Stucki Early Greying Gene). My mom was completely gray by her mid-thirties, as was my sister, and it all happened within a couple of years. Now that I'm 38, I was hoping to have been at least somewhat spared, but have noticed an alarmingly and ever-increasing number of grays sprouting from my head.

So I dyed my hair a few months ago - and couldn't stand the roots that were very apparent 3 weeks later (it didn't help that in my first foray into home tinting I chose a shade too light). So I just recently opted for the next darker shade, and if it's a better match, I'll probably grow out my hair and let it go gray. At least that's the current plan. It'll probably change by tomorrow.

But yes, I do agree with your parents.

Lara said...

Yes Kristina, the vast majority of my hair dyeing has been done at home. I'm still not very good at keeping up with it and generally have obnoxious roots, but for now I'm keeping with it for at least a few more years. :)

Valerie H. said...

Lara's story could be mine. I finally decided I loved dad's hair so why was I covering mine. But then I am old as rocks so I can let it go. It does have it's advantages. The bus drivers kneel the bus for me and people probably older then me jump up and let me sit down on trax and bus. There alot of white hairs in the Hepworth clan.

Andie said...

I've been highlighting my hair since my 20's and honestly at this point I wish I hadn't back then because now I have to. Or at least in my mind I have to, because my gray hair grosses me out too bad.

I'm envious of you brunettes who can do yours at home. Blonde is trickier and I've been warned not to attempt it at home. Luckily one of my friends from our ward does hair out of her basement and she charges less than a salon, but still...I cringe every time I write that check and try to stretch my time between colors as far as possible.

But...I guess I look at it this way. Why look and/or feel older than you have to? If an $8 box of hair color (or a $50 head of highlights) helps, then bring it. There's really nothing I can do to make my crow's feet or my 30+, four-baby mommy tummy go away completely no matter how hard I try. The gray hair is something I can control.

Great idea for a post!

Mirien said...

You don't want to hear from me. I have an LGG. Even my mom in her 60s isn't that gray. However, I succumbed to vanity much sooner than you, despite the way I was raised. Hating my blah dishwater blonde hair, I started highlights years ago until I decided enough. I'm back to my natural color and trying to love it. We'll see how long that lasts.

angela said...

I had to start coloring my hair after my last baby. I have TONS of grey. It makes me feel super old. I have tried doing it myself, having it done at a salon and recently tried highlights because my sister is a stylist and did it for free! I am not sure I love it, I really want to look like I don't dye my hair and they kind of stand out too much.
I figure that I am saving lots of money by cutting the kids hair, and that should go straight to mine!

Deanne said...

No gray hairs here, but I do dye my hair. I guess I'm vain, waste money, and like to do pointless things. =)

Most of the time I do it myself though because I can't stand to spend that much money at a salon on my hair.

Kelly (Two Kids and a Mom Cooking) said...

I found my first grey at 16 and have been dying my hair regularily since my 20s.

I have dark brown, almost black hair. My Dad did too and his is and has been, completely white for quite some time.

If I let my roots go, there's waayy too much white for my liking...I'm going keep on dying 'til I'm at least in my 50s :D

Jocelyn Christensen said...

Oh man, look at all of the good stuff on your site! I can hardly keep up!

Vanity is my middle name. If I name my weakness, it doesn't have to rule me...that's my theory anyway! Color on!

Blondie said...

great post Lara! I only have a few grays, which I still pull out (I know!). I'm at that point though that I'm debating lightening the hair as it seems so DARK and therefore, more in contrast to the gray. But I think I'll wait until the last possible minute, as I hate the vicious cycle of coloring that begins. :/ too much time and effort in my book

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